Studies in Cognitive Anthropology of Science
Journal of Cognition and Culture, 1 September 2004, vol. 4, iss. 3 & 4
Special issue - Guest editor: Christophe Heintz

Excerpt from the introduction

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Excerpt from the introduction

The cognitive anthropology of science is at the crossroads of several rapidly developing disciplines: cognitive science, which increasingly provides tools for the study of scientific thinking; science studies, and in particular the anthropology of science, which is enriching the subject with numerous case studies; naturalised epistemology, which is constantly reworking its philosophical assumptions thus opening new directions for the naturalist study of science; and finally, cognitive anthropology and ethnoscience, which make a valuable contribution in terms of theory, methods and empirical data.
Thus, the cognitive anthropology of science benefits from several paradigms, traditions and research methods. First, cognitive anthropologists can show how cognitive constraints have contributed, together with historical and cultural factors, to the contents of a given science. Second, sciences are cultural objects of particular relevance for the cross-cultural study of notions such as truth or causality, and cognitive operations such as reasoning or categorising. Third, sciences can be analysed as specific cultural models or schemas that frame individuals' cognition. Scientists at work, and, more controversially, people in their everyday activities, appeal to specific ways of thinking informed by the 'culture of science'. Fourth, scientific practice can be analysed as cognition distributed among scientists and scientific instruments.

And yet, the project remains controversial. This is so because of its explicit objective to combine and integrate the explanatory power of the cognitive and social sciences.


Christophe Heintz
Introduction: Why there should be a cognitive anthropology of science

Roy Ellen
From ethno-science to science, or `What the indigenous knowledge debate tells us about how scientists define their project'

Marta Spranzi
Galileo and the mountains of the moon: analogical reasoning, models and metaphors in scientific discovery

Deveraux Poling & Margaret Evans
Religious Belief, Scientific Expertise, and Folk Ecology

Jean Paul Van Bendegem & Bart Van Kerkhove
The Unreasonable richness of mathematics

David Gooding
Cognition, Construction and Culture: Visual theories in the sciences

Wolff-Michael Roth
Emergence of Graphing Practices in Scientific Research

Morana Alac & Ed Hutchins
I see what you are saying: Action as cognition in fMRI brain mapping practice

Elke Kurz-Milke, Nancy Nersessian & Wendy Newstetter
What has history to do with cognition? Interactive methods for studying research laboratories

Angeles Erana & Sergio Martinez,
The heuristic structure of scientific knowledge

Ryan Tweney
Replication and the Experimental Ethnography of Science

Ronald Giere
The Problem of Agency in Scientific Distributed Cognitive Systems